Third-ranked Poly is stopped short in quarterfinal, 17-16

November 20, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

A week after overcoming a 6-0 deficit against City for a 7-6 last-second victory, No. 3 Poly couldn't duplicate that feat yesterday.

The No. 2 seed Engineers pulled to 17-16 of visiting Wheaton with 8:52 left but came no closer and lost the 3A state quarterfinal game.

Poly closed to one point after covering 77 yards in 12 plays, including Martin Prosper's four receptions for 67 yards, and getting quarterback Jackie Wise's 1-yard run, coupled with his conversion pass to John Pierre.

But after twice stopping the Knights (10-1), who were held to 25 of their 136 yards in the second half, the Engineers (9-2) couldn't overcome Chris Tao's punts of 61 and 40 yards on their final two drives.

"We thought we had a chance to score another touchdown, but they [Wheaton] just played their hearts out," said Wise, whose squad trailed, 10-0, after a first half in which it was held to 45 of its 198 total yards.

Poly running back Randall Beaman, who entered the game with 1,210 yards and 16 touchdowns, had 87 yards on 13 carries -- 63 in the second half. Tao and defensive back/quarterback Danny Ray each had first-half interceptions.

"We were controlling the line of scrimmage better in the second half, but just didn't pull it out," said Wise.

Wheaton, which travels to No. 9 C. Milton Wright (10-1) Saturday, was without top receiver Byron Moody because he violated a team rule, said coach Lee Brantover.

But running back Kevin Johnson (31 carries, 124 yards) carried the load for seventh seed Wheaton, ranked No. 14 by The Washington Post and unbeaten since a season-opening 44-7 loss to defending state champion Seneca Valley.

Wheaton, making its first playoff appearance since 1980, led, 3-0, after its first possession as Tao's 28-yard field goal completed a nine-play, 54-yard drive. It later scored both touchdowns after capitalizing on Poly's mental miscues on punts by the Knights.

"They never made a mistake and we made two, which cost us the game," said Poly coach Augie Waibel. "But take nothing away from Wheaton. They scored when they had the opportunity."

The Knights faced a fourth-and-13 from their 14 when a Poly player strayed into the play and was hit by Tao's bouncing punt.

Richard Gomez recovered at midfield and the Knights drove 50 yards in 12 plays -- including Johnson's eight carries for 46 yards -- before Ray scored on a keeper. Tao's first of two conversion kicks put the Knights up by 10 just 4:02 before halftime.

Poly, last year's state runner-up, opened the second half by stopping Wheaton at the Knights' 37, then covering 12 plays and yards before Wise -- on fourth and goal at Wheaton's 7 -- rolled left and dove across the goal line past two defenders. Wise then found Pierre on a conversion pass to trim the deficit to 10-8, with 4:23 left in the third period.

But as the Engineers' defense gathered momentum, the special teams took it away.

Poly stuffed Wheaton after four downs at its 34, led by tackles Darnell Dezurn and Sebastian Smothers, who recorded his ninth sack in the game. But the Engineers were called for roughing the kicker on the ensuing punt, resuscitating the Knights at Poly's 49.

Two plays later, Johnson broke to his left for the score off of a 44-yard off-tackle run.

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